COVID-19: DISINFORMATION IN THE POLISH CYBERSPACE

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Since almost a year the world remains shattered by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic which secured its position on the first sites of medias. The influx of SARC-CoV-2-related information consists here of news coming from both authentic and inauthentic sources, and took a previously unseen size. To grasp this unprecedented phenomenon a new term has been coined, the infodemic, which is defined by the WHO as an overabundance of information, both online and offline. According to the international organization, it includes also deliberate attempts to disseminate wrong information to undermine the public health response and advance alternative agendas of groups or individuals.

The phenomenon of infodemic has occurred also in the Polish cyberspace. Every day thousands of new virus- and pandemic-related information show up and are subsequently disseminated and commented via social media networks. A share of these information constitute false or manipulated „news” which call the very existence of pandemics into question or instrumentalise it to propagate certain agendas (such as the anti-vaccine movement).

In order to systematize the instances and sources of disinformation spread in the Polish cyberspace, analysts of the CYBERSEC Disinfo Lab, in cooperation with the Open Information Partnership have collated and analysed COVID-19-related contents posted on Facebook, Twitter and on Wykop. The analysis of more than 23 thousand of diversified contents from June and July 2020 resulted in a creation of most frequently used narratives and sources of disinformation.

These topics, including instrumental use of pandemics by the anti-vacciners, growing anti-maskers movements, misleading activities of influencers, grassroots disinfo and target groups are covered by this COVID-19-dedicated report done by the CYBERSEC Disinfo Lab.